Concert Review: Hamilton Leithauser & Paul Maroon with Aron D’Alesio at the Dakota Tavern

This was an early show on a work night. I wish all shows finished at 9pm.

The last two times I’ve seen the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser it’s been on January 20, in Toronto and at a very small, sold out venue. The Dakota doesn’t really get too many of my favourite high profile acts. Perhaps in thinning out his sound from the old outfit, Leithauser doesn’t have the draw he may have with the band.

I’ve always dug Leithauser’s crooner-like vocals. Playing in such a small, intimate outfit his vocals become even more important to the sound. It’s amazing that his loud, not-always-pretty wails work with the slow, story-based tunes.

Leithauser announced to the crowd that he and Walkmen guitarist and current tourmate, Paul Maroon, had just released an album. He said he brought some, but sold out at the band’s last gig. Tease.

As a duo, Leithauser told more stories this time. He played a sweet tune inspired by his encounter at his friend’s father at his friend’s wedding. He confessed to the packed house that neither his friend nor her father know it’s about them.

The Hamilton-based opening act Aron D’Alesio won my heart over. In my senior years, I’ve become a lazier and lazier music lover. I take fewer risks and tend to skip out on opening acts. D’Alesio seems to be a shy fella. He hopped onto the stage alone and banged out a handful of songs along with full-band recordings. It felt like a karaoke bout. His sound has been inspired by things from the past, namely sixties girl groups and surf rock. D’Aleslio spends his spare time in group outfit, Young Rival, who seem to be doing some extensive touring for the remainder of the month.

After hunting down D’Alesio’s identity, it hit me that a friend had recommended his music to me. She described him as sounded like the Walkmen. I had a little chuckle with her when I told her he opened up for members of the Walkmen.

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